At the start of their respective Avon Tyres British GT Championship campaigns TF Sport’s two teams are looking for race finishes to begin the climb up the learning curve in the incredibly competitive series.
The team, who were selected as an official Aston Martin Racing customer team over the winter months, will run a Vantage in both the GT3 and GT4 classes. Entering the premier class in the championship are Paul Bailey and Andy Schulz, who commit to a GT3 campaign after two weekends in a GTC Ferrari to close the 2013 season.
“I haven’t raced at Oulton Park for three years,” admitted Bailey, “although TF Sport and I tested there a few weeks back. It’s a very tight, unforgiving circuit. If you go off the track you will do a lot of damage.”
“Andy and I have worked together for a long time. Last year we competed in the Britcar MSA British Endurance Championship in a similar GT3-spec Aston Martin V12 Vantage. However, Britcar and the British GT Championship are worlds apart. It’s very nerve-racking, but I feel I’m well prepared.”
However, entering the championship as part of a capacity grid for the two 60 minute races at Oulton Park that kick off the season Bailey is tempering his expectations.
“I think the realistic target is to finish the race, which may not sound like much, but this weekend is going to be a huge moment for me,” he said. “This is by far the largest grid I’ve raced in and, considering the series is attracting the very best drivers Europe has to offer, I expect this to be very challenging.”
Andrew Jarman and Devon Modell, meanwhile, will make their series debuts in the team’s Vantage GT4, part of a strong entry for the class with three Aston Martins among the dozen cars set to contest the class.
“It is a bit of an unknown heading into the first weekend of the season,” said Jarman. “Testing went really well and I hope to get a podium finish in the first race. I’ve raced at Oulton Park in both the GT4 Challenge and Formula Renault and it’s a track I quite like. However, with the size of field this season, it will be a case of staying out of trouble and getting some points.”
His co-driver will helicopter back and forth from Oulton Park to Donington Park, competing in both British GT and the Clio Cup over the Easter Weekend.
He said; “it’s going to be a huge learning curve for the whole year, but I felt very comfortable the moment I first stepped in the car. Oulton Park is one of the tracks I favour. I tested the Aston Martin, but we still have no idea where we are going to be come raceday.”
www.theCheckeredFlag.co.uk will have full coverage of the British GT Championship’s opening weekend with reports from every session.